William A. Wilson Folklore Archive
Committed to collecting and preserving folklore, the William A. Wilson Digital Folklore Archives focuses on families, religious life of Latter-day Saints and other religious movements, university students, and regional life in the Intermountain West. Home of the largest collection of Mormon folklore, the digital archive also houses significant collections of legends, customs, speech, beliefs, songs, material culture, tales and jokes, games, riddles, and personal narratives.
- Managed by Special Collections
- Archivist Christine Blythe
- Guide to Physical Archive Link
Browse Folklore Genre Collections
The William A. Wilson Folklore Archive is divided into 15 genre collections and a collection of BYU student folklore projects. Folklore manuscripts predating the digital manuscript collection (1950-2019) can be found in the archive’s physical repository and accessed through the library guide
- FA 01 Student Projects
Folklore papers written by Brigham Young University students as their final course project.
- FA 02 Supernatural Religious Legends
Legends with distinct religious themes.
- FA 03 Supernatural Non-religious Legends
Legends about supernatural events of a non-religious character.
- FA 04 Human Condition Legends
Legends about various aspects of the human condition, including legends on war, ethnic religious encounters, stereotypes, slavery, migration, poverty and wealth, the law, occupations and avocations, courtship, marriage, family, polygamy, animals, nature, wealth, sickness, human traits and family characters.
- FA 05 Character Legends
Legends about notable characters throughout time.
- FA 06 Etiological Legends
Legends that explain the origin of supernatural or social phenomenon.
- FA 07 Contemporary Legends
Often contemporary legends are told as having occurred among family or friends, sometimes referred to as a friend of a friend legend.
- FA 08 Personal Narratives
Narratives told from a first-person perspective.
- FA 09 Folktales and Jokes
Stories that are passed down from generations to generation, often orally.
- FA 10 Beliefs
Beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation, often informally.
- FA 11 Speech
The traditional or expressive use of language by ordinary people, including dialect and style.
- FA 12 Riddles
Questions or statements with a double veiled meaning. Riddles also include visual puzzles.
- FA 13 Songs
Traditional songs often passed down through families or other folk groups.
- FA 14 Customs
Traditional practices passed down from generation to generation, often orally.
- FA 15 Games
Traditional games passed down from generation to generation, often by children.
- FA 16 Material Lore
Refers to objects that people design, create, collect or use, includes the beliefs and practices of the people who use them.